The Frigid Dare
“I dare you...” I said with a devilish grin, “to go to the Snowager and blow a raspberry at him. AND call him a sloth-face.”
Chinilyli forced a yawn to hide her fear. “Piece of pyramicake. Let’s go. And what is a sloth-face anyway?” We were sitting in the Ice Caves and playing Dare, a game where Chinilyli and I took turns daring each other to do outrageous and frightening things. We have been banned from the Deserted Fairground, Roo Island, and we can only go to Qasala under owner supervision. So if you don’t like having your face on the wanted posters, I suggest you stay away from Dare.
I watched her run to the Snowager’s Cave. Chini got lucky- Snowy was sleeping and she managed to complete the entire dare after taking a tasty-looking negg smoothie. “Done! Now, I dare you to tell the Snowbeast he looks fat,” she announced, taking a sip of my new drink. I looked at her with a solemn expression on my green face.
“I don’t think I can. I stole an innocent petpet from his lunch on my first day in Neopia and he's hated me ever since,” I said seriously. It wasn’t a total bluff. I had visited the Snowbeast on my first day in existence. But I have no clue whether he hates me or not. Chinilyli, who was awful at knowing lies from truth, agreed to change the Dare.
I haven’t been in Neopia for very long, and Chinilyli, my new best friend, has been showing me around, per request of our owner. She did one world per day, and today we were at Terror Mountain. I hate it- I hate the cold, the wetness of the snow, and the fierce winds. It’s weird- Poogles are supposed to like this sort of weather. But I’d trade it for the Lost Desert in a heartbeat. Chinilyli is my best friend, and we’ve gotten into more near-death experiences together than I care to admit, ever since we started playing Dare about five days ago.
“Rissa! I dare you to slide down the slope of Terror Mountain- the really steep one- on your stomach. It would be the ultimate dare if you do it. You’ll be fine. Just don’t take off your sweater or it’s going to hurt. It’s been done before. Come on!”
I sighed. “Don’t I get a choice?”
“Should we wait for the lift, go through the Ice Caves, or hike up?” Chinilyli asked me. I pondered my choices, which were all going to take me to my doom. The ski lift was too slow, I did NOT want to see the Snowager’s face again, and hiking was good exercise and Chini hated it. “Let’s climb up,” I said.
The higher we climbed, the more nervous I felt. “Are you sure about this?” I huffed, wind blasting into my ears. “I think it’s dangerous, and only for Bruces anyway.”
“No,” she admitted, shrieking as she missed a foothold. “So get up there before my conscience wakes up!”
I hoped she was kidding about the conscience thing.
But about ten minutes later, we were both standing behind the peak of Dar-BLAT! and staring down into the ocean at the base of the mountain. I took off my hair clip, scarf, and wings. “You have ten seconds to drop to your stomach and push off. I hope you know how to swim, because you’re probably going to land in the water. Ready?”
“NO!” I cried.
“Too bad, darling. Ten, nine, eight...” I squealed in protest as Chini knocked me onto my belly and swiftly pushed the bottoms of my feet. “GO!” Chinilyli cried. And the level white snow rushed behind me.
It hurt like volcanic lava, and I know only too well how that feels like. The icy wind was so strong, any hat would have been knocked off. Lucky I removed my hairclip when I did. My frozen, wet, aching stomach got uncomfortable stabs every shift in inclination or rock. And the speed! I was sliding faster than I could ever run, swim, or even race. I couldn’t even open my mouth to scream, or my eyes to see. I was blinded by snow and wind. This was scarier than watching Chinilyli scale Coltzan’s Shrine, because at least that didn’t hurt. But a teeny part of me enjoyed this. It was sort of fun ripping through the snow, and when you reach a snowed-over rock or twig you get a feeling of flying. The sweater is probably ruined, I thought with regret. Also, I could vaguely distinguish the cheers and claps of neopets. “I bet I’m missing something interesting,” I muttered, or at least attempted to mutter. My mouth wouldn’t open far enough.
The end arrived suddenly.
After nearly half an hour of belly-numbing glides, I was shocked to see that I was no longer sliding or flying but falling through the air. You couldn’t see it from the top, but there was an incredibly high drop at the very end of the slope. Wind rushed up around me. I gasped, but there was no point. I had to stop panicking and start saving hit points. I rotated my body into a diving position and kept my eyes and mouth shut as I fell, with a loud splash, into that sub-zero water. It wasn’t that deep, less than a meter, but I felt like I was being pricked with ice-cold needles all over my body. It was hard to do because of my heavy winter clothes, but I pushed off the rocky bottom and managed to Gelert-paddle to the valley’s entrance.
When I got out, shivering, achy and dripping wet, I saw Chini rushing to me with hot borovan and a warm Sleepy Neopet Blanket that she wrapped around me. “Oh my Fyora, are you all right? I swear, I didn’t know about the drop! I was so scared! I watched you go all the way down. Let’s go home. I don’t want you to catch Sneezles out here. You did great. The shuttle to Faerieland is leaving in a minute. We have to hurry. Are you okay?” she said these things very rapidly and repetitively for the entire journey.
“You’re practically famous! No one’s done that in a long time, you know,” Chinilyli mentioned, when she calmed down.
“S-s-so th-th-they were ch-ch-ch-cheering for me?”I stuttered out, trying to calm my chattering.
Soon, both of us were in warm dry clothes and sitting in beanbags sipping Borovan and coffee with marshmallows. We didn’t talk, just sat and watched our little sisters run around the neohome playing something like Kacheek Seek. I don’t know who was winning or losing, and I didn’t really care. I felt numb and sort of tingly all over. I still couldn’t believe what I had just done.
Chini put her cup down. “I am so sorry I made you do it,” she said to me in a choked- up voice. “Are you angry? You could have died, for Fyora’s sake!”
In answer, I reached over and gave her a hug. “Of course I’m not. It was fun! Let’s do it again sometime. I dare you.”